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Has Wusthof missed the boat?
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Thread: Has Wusthof missed the boat?

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    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    Has Wusthof missed the boat?

    Its a well known fact that to stay viable in business, one must reinvent themselves from time to time; its called the Madonna formula...lol

    It seems Henckels has done a good job keeping up with the growing trend towards J-knives with the Miyabi line (which I think still needs some work; terrible handles), use of much harder steels, thinner blades, and teaming up with Kramer.

    I don't think Wusthof has done anything to sway any of us their way. Although I heard they are hardening their steel more, is this enough?

    What I don't want to see is a poorly done ripoff of a J-knife......
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
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    Senior Member Avishar's Avatar
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    Back when I worked at SLT, Wusthof was acclimated by most home cooks as the be all end all knife (the same types of people would also be the ones that wouldn't be convinced their $9000 cutco set was not the best). It seems that the only real expansion Wusthof has had is in creating Japanese "style" knives, such as their santoku and nakiri. The second thing they did with the Ikon line is cut back the bolster so they wouldn't have the swale anymore, introduce more "ergonomic" handles, and apparently slightly harden their steel. From what I've seen from them they stick to their guns or introduce silly things, like their scalloped santoku "Wave" knife. I think they have their target customers (and enough endorsements on food network) and will continue without expansion into the J world until they feel they need to. It would be nice to see them update themselves more, but as long as people like Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay are sporting their knives it will probably be a while. Now that I've made this statement I'm fairly certain the universe will go against me and Wusthof will introduce a J-line just to prove me wrong :P

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    We have less than 1000 users here. Not to say everyone who loves j-knives posts here, but in the US there isn't a ton. We are not their target market. Their target market is 1000x times the size of the market we fit into. They are more than happy to be on every wedding registry from here till Labor Day. I don't think they are struggling, and if they really wanted to, they could throw a bunch of money at R&D and marketing, and create a j-knife style lineup that was successful. Even if they did, it would not compete with our Konosukes and Aritsugus or whatever. It would be aimed at Shun's market share. And like Henckel, they would probably buy/create a separate company, so they don't waver from their identity as a german knife maker.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

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    Senior Member rockbox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    We have less than 1000 users here. Not to say everyone who loves j-knives posts here, but in the US there isn't a ton. We are not their target market. Their target market is 1000x times the size of the market we fit into. They are more than happy to be on every wedding registry from here till Labor Day. I don't think they are struggling, and if they really wanted to, they could throw a bunch of money at R&D and marketing, and create a j-knife style lineup that was successful. Even if they did, it would not compete with our Konosukes and Aritsugus or whatever. It would be aimed at Shun's market share. And like Henckel, they would probably buy/create a separate company, so they don't waver from their identity as a german knife maker.

    Yes this. This why zwilling created Miyabi and you don't see Henkels anywhere on the knife or packaging. They don't want to cannibalize their core sales.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein

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    A couple of years ago I was talking to the head designer at a major U.S cutlery company, one that has already been mentioned in this thread. He told me they were dropping a certain model pocket knife because it was "only" selling around 5000 units a year. They wanted things that sold at least 25000 units annually. I'm guessing most of the kitchen knives those of us on this forum are interested in would never hit that 5000 point, let alone 25,000. The real world cutlery market lives in a different dimension than we do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodle Soup View Post
    The real world cutlery market lives in a different dimension than we do.
    No doubt, yet...how many of us still own a Wusty? I do, in fact I still have a hard time getting my wife to convert despite the large amount of alternatives on the mag block.

    Go figure!

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    My first decent knife was a Wustorf 8" ikon Chef's knife and I still use it for brutal/heavy duty tasks. I will say that the fit and finish is fantastic and the handle is ultra comfortable. They make a great knife and as mentioned above, they are a market that they are targeting and targeting well. I was actually thinking about having a custom knife built with a handle copied from the Wustorf but then I fell in love with Wa-handles and the rest is history.

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    Senior Member FryBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    We have less than 1000 users here. Not to say everyone who loves j-knives posts here, but in the US there isn't a ton. We are not their target market. Their target market is 1000x times the size of the market we fit into. They are more than happy to be on every wedding registry from here till Labor Day. I don't think they are struggling, and if they really wanted to, they could throw a bunch of money at R&D and marketing, and create a j-knife style lineup that was successful. Even if they did, it would not compete with our Konosukes and Aritsugus or whatever. It would be aimed at Shun's market share. And like Henckel, they would probably buy/create a separate company, so they don't waver from their identity as a german knife maker.
    You hit the nail on the head. Here's the current ratings from Consumer Reports, far more relevant to the general marketplace than any opinions expressed here:

    Doug Collins
    Hermosa Beach, California

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    Senior Member FryBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stereo.pete View Post
    My first decent knife was a Wustorf 8" ikon Chef's knife and I still use it for brutal/heavy duty tasks. I will say that the fit and finish is fantastic and the handle is ultra comfortable. They make a great knife and as mentioned above, they are a market that they are targeting and targeting well. I was actually thinking about having a custom knife built with a handle copied from the Wustorf but then I fell in love with Wa-handles and the rest is history.
    +1

    I still have the Wusthof Classic knives I bought in the late 1960s/early 1970s (before they were called "Classic"). I used them for nearly 40 years before discovering Hattori and other J-knives, and I loved them. They sharpened well, kept a good edge for months (with occasional steeling), and cut anything I needed to cut. They're comfortable, very well made, and built to last. I still reach for my 8" Wusthof Chef's knife for certain tasks that might damage my J-knives, and my wife uses them exclusively (mainly, I think, because she's afraid of what might happen if she were to damage one of my "good" knives).

    Despite the vitriol directed at the brand, Wusties are good, serviceable knives that are more than adequate for 99.9% of home cooks. The fact that they're inferior to the J-knives we all love and discuss endlessly doesn't change that.
    Doug Collins
    Hermosa Beach, California

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    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    I think the fact that Henckels, as well as Wusthof, is associated with years of quality, is why the Miyabi was a no brainer. It really is a nice knife, with good steel, at a reasonable price point; plus, it adds a rock solid warranty. Like I said, I don't want to see a crappy Wusthof J-knife wannabe, but, I would like to see them create a new line, even to compete against the likes of the Twin Cermax, which I think the Ikon is closest to, except for the all important steel.

    Back when Henckels made the move to be sold at the likes of Target, while Wusthof held on and continued to only be available at higher ended retailers, I thought Henckels may have severely damaged their name; but they seem to be doing well.

    I guess, in the end, I would like to see Wusthof come up with something that would intrigue even the knuts on our forums, as I've always seen them as a little nicer than the Henckel....
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

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