British design brand Minimalux has updated the classic ballpoint pen with a set of four precious-metal editions - with a price tag of £185 for gold and rhodium versions.
The brand launched its first brass ballpoint pen in 2011, and its 2015 line introduces a choice of gold, rhodium (a type of platinum), black rhodium and rose gold plated finishes, as well as a subtle redesign of the pen's form.
"The pen has been refined in terms of weight and balance to offer an overall better writing experience," Minimalux founder and head of design Mark Holmes told Dezeen.
"We've also specified a much superior refill which is replaceable via a stainless steel grub screw at the base; whilst this is a practical and nice looking detail it also gives clear reference to the engineering aspect of the pen's manufacture."
Featuring a smooth barrel machined from a single bar of brass, the Minimalux design is a pared-back interpretation of the original ballpoint invented by Hungarian journalist and artist László Bíró in the 1930s.
Noticing that newspaper ink dried more rapidly than the liquid from a traditional fountain pen, Biró experimented with similar formulas that could be used in his new ballpoint design. He also replaced the standard nib with a metal ball that would give the pen its name.
Bíró patented his design in 1938, and began production in 1944. The ballpoint was particularly suited to writing at high altitude, and as a result Bíró's first major order came from the RAF, which purchased over 30,000 pens for its navigators.
Minimalux's new line offers a more luxury take on the writing implement, with an asking price of £185 for the precious metal finishes, and £85 for the original brass.
"The addition of precious metal plating further extends the market reach of the project, offering tarnish-free alternatives to the brass, all with their own individual character and appeal," said Holmes – a former design-director and co-founder of design brand Established & Sons, who launched Minimalux in 2009.
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Rare metals also feature in Marc Newson's recently launched set of pens for German brand Montblanc, which have rhodium and ruthenium-plated nibs. Newson has previously collaborated with Hermès to design the French fashion label's first pen – boasting a retractable nib.
Photography is by Peer Lindgreen and Minimalux.