The thread about seeking a Kramer non-production knife kind of got the ball rolling, but I had been thinking about it for awhile.
I'm a culinary student, albeit a non-traditional one. I came from a field that was fairly lucretive, allowing me to appreciate and afford the finer things in life; i.e. great knives. In no way do I feel this grants me anything as I enter a hopefully long and painful, yet rewarding career of cooking.
The other day in my Garde Manger class, my instuctor, a real bad-ass adjunct, who's locally proven himself over and over, grabs my 7.2 Sun Carter for a second. I think we all know, it's pretty rare, even for professionals, to appreciate a great knife. Many pros here will tell you that Shun, Wustof and etc. dominate their kitchens. He's a better cook than I hope I'll ever be.
Anyways, here is the short conversation (keep in mind, I go to a community college. The cirriculum is actually really good, but the students that finish pay 8k for their education, not 80k). The majority of students stick with their issued Mercer kit.
"Man, this is a really nice knife. What did this run you?" - instructor
"ummm. You really don't want to know Chef." - me
"200?" - instructor
"More than $200 Chef."
end of convo.
This is a gyuto that was listed at $525 more than 15 months ago. With the 25% I think I paid around $400. Nevermind the Kochi Migaki, Gesshin Ginga petty, Wustoff filet, Fujiwara FKM, cheap ($70) Honesuki, three random Shun's (about $350 woth that got me interested in this place).
Today, that Carter would probably run around $600-800 from Murray, depending on the handle. Right now Kramer's are auctioning for around 30k. I've handled a Shun production Kramer, but never the real thing. On the flipside, you have bad-ass dudes like Devin T. throwing out offers for his 240 ITK for $400. In less than an hour they're all gone.
I'm a firm believer in capatalism, and getting whatever the market is willing to pay. Major props for people like Hoss and other makers around here for keeping their products at an affordable price. And major respect for people like Kramer who've managed to create a market in which supply does not meet the demand. To me, the Carter was well worth what I paid for it as well.
I guess my question is, how do you define the value of a functional (non-show) knife? Obviously here we're a little obsessed with shiny things, but when do each of you define the value? My guess is that the person who is paying 30k for a Kramer is not putting it to use everyday for 6-8 hours, but I'm curious as to what others see as the compromise.