Wow! I got back home recently from a month-long trip, so I kinda got antsy and felt like sharpening some knives for the hell of it. It's been more than a month since I last put metal to stones!
I decided to put my own edge on a new, never-sharpened gyuto in W2 that I've had for a while but admittedly never really put much time into it. I also wanted to put my own edge on a second-hand Watanabe gyuto that I hadn't put on the stones yet.
The W2 gyuto was pretty nice on the 500. I could thin down the shoulders of the bevel pretty quickly and formed a burr reasonably quickly thereafter. Nothing super-special, but thinning down the shoulders was a lot better than I feared it might be beforehand. It was kinda rough on the paper test after the 500, but reasonable. Then I took the knife through 1000, 3000, and 5000. I had thought about stopping at 3000, but it just wasn't nice enough at that point. At 5000, it seemed okay. Nothing exciting to me - at least via paper testing, slicing and push-cutting - but it was decent. I think I'll actually put some more time in with this knife now compared to before.
The Watanabe though? I just started on 1000 since the edge was in decent shape anyways. Holy moly it formed a burr in an instant! I don't think I've had any other gyuto in my hands form a burr *that* fast. Practically two or three forward strokes on the stone for any given section was all it took. Now, granted I'm still a learning and improving sharpener so arguably I've just gotten more consistent on my angles, but I don't think that's the entire story. Moreover, after the 1000 the Watanabe was already going through paper as cleanly and as nicely (or better) than the W2 gyuto after 5000.
I then went on to 5000, then did a quick finish on a natural (to pamper the knife more than anything else ), but really I think that Watanabe would have been good to use at 1000.
Watanabe knives don't get a lot of air time on forums anymore because they've been on our collective radar for so long, but the more I use 'em, the more I understand why they're still high up on a lot of peoples' lists on those rare times when discussions *do* mention them.