What are the most sought after gyutos now?

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Not sure I agree with all of that. How many factory, which I assume you mean mass-produced, knives are using steels like Aogami and Shirogami, which are heat treated to the same hardness as a TF for example. There is a subtlety and complexity to the geometry of a Yoshiaki Fujiwara blade that I've never seen duplicated in a stamped or machine forged blade. All these factors contribute to the 'performance' of the blade, be it edge retention, sharpness whilst retaining durability or food release. Yes, there is a premium for the connection to the maker and his/her backstory but its a lot more than that IMHO.

My point stands that it's all subjective. And your definition of performance is also subjective. For me performance is related to will this make my job easier or faster? When I personally buy knives strictly for performance I buy Ashi Gingas and Kanehides. I know those knives will make my job easiest. The right balance of sharpness, hardness, toughness, retention, etc to give me a good balance between cutting, maintenance, comfort, durability, etc.

Now I also own custom knives from one man Western shops and boutique Japanese makers that I paid a lot more money for. I use them at work because they make me feel like a badass. Not because they make me faster or make my food taste better. This will not be the same for all chefs. And who knows what home cooks obsessed with distal taper and edge retention and blade hardness and food release and exotic steels and choil shots and eased spines and yada yada yada. They undoubtedly measure performance in different ways. And whatever you gotta tell yourself to justify the expense. But for me it's true (unless it's my wife asking and then yes, that fancy knife is definitely absolutely necessary for me to be able to do my job).
 
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There's no objectivity involved. Simple market forces. For performance it is really hard to beat factory produced Japanese knives. But they are boring and not that pretty and readily available. So there's a demand for artisan produced knives and a limited number of artisans to produce them. It doesn't mean that a $1000+ Raquin is going to chop your onions any better than a $120 Mac Pro.
@stringer nailed it there - the difference in performance between a Kato and a fibrox Vic is significantly, massively smaller than the difference in their prices. The prices are a reflection of primarily the supply/demand curve and to a lesser extent the craftsmanship in production. But higher or more expensive effort used producing a blade doesn't mean that the blade is better at anything other than costing a lot of money.

Buuuuuuuut... humans are not objective creatures. My kids are by far the most amazing people on the planet... to me. I'm not objective, but don't pretend to be at all. My Kato, my Togashi honyaki, several others, are the greatest knives I've ever used... and that opinion is absolutely as subjective as my opinion on my kids. :)

Given the availability of extremely effective knives for under 50 dollars, no knife is objectively "worth" over a thousand based on utility alone.
Thanks guys, I think you just saved me from spending another thousand dollars. It all started because I needed a slicer for thanksgiving. A $1,000+++ later after multiple “sale” invitations I would say my two favorites are a Tojiro Flash 8” chef and 5” petty.
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daveb

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But you can quantify the subjectivity somewhat.

Western makers command more $/knife than their Japanese counterparts. Many reasons have been suggested, I don't think it matters why so much as that it is.

From makers that have spent time here as sponsors it could be easily argued that Haburn and Bloodroot are the most sought after - their spec knives sell as soon as they are put up and their wait lists are 5+ years. And both turn out a respectable amount of product.

By this measure Marko and Devin are right up there as well. (Though I don't know if Hoss is actually producing new knives at this time) Martell's knives are certainly coveted. And I'm sure there's many that I'm not thinking of or not aware of.
 

timebard

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My two cents is that the most sought-after makers can have subtle performance characteristics that are hard or impossible to find from Japanese knives made at a larger scale. But the differences are small, and almost entirely irrelevant to cooking good food.

I was reading an older review of a Dalman and the writer said something to the effect of "the only performance metric that matters to me as a home cook is smiles per cut." I get more smiles per cut from a Yoshikane than a Victorinox, and more yet from a Kippington than a Yoshi. Part of that is that it takes some small but measurable amount of force less to cut a carrot or whatever, but most of it is just subjective impression of "wow this is a joy to use."
 
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In almost anything there is a diminishing return when pushing for top performance. You tend to pay a lot of money to increase performance by a marginal gain when you get to the top. An artisan knife worth $800 will not outperform a $40 fibrox by a factor of 20. That is not to say it isn’t worth it but you just have to accept that in order to experience the pinnacle of knife making you need to pay a master bladesmith what he is worth to get you there. I absolutely believe that some, not all, of the higher end knives outperform some of the tried and true favorites. Then there are knives where you pay a premium for the look, artistry or just hype but they can’t deliver the goods in the kitchen. Not going to point fingers but you know what I’m talking about.
 

tcmx3

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whenever someone has said that {thing x} blows away {well respected thing y} and I believed them enough to part with my own money, I regretted it.

there are very few people who I trust to be objective about such things. my observation is that whatever the last thing someone spent a huge amount of money on is the best. it's way better than everything else.

until it's for sale on BST because of the new next best thing ever that's way better.

I remember a guy on The Gear Page who would write these War & Peace length rants about his search for a guitar to match his (long gone) vintage 64. every time he got a new guitar the old one went up for sale, and boy the new one was just SO MUCH BETTER. not even a comparison. the old one was dogshit in comparison to this new one.

well I took it upon myself one day to actually track through and you know this guy had done this like 7 or 8 times.

there's a ton of difference between some of these knives in terms of how they go about doing what they do, but people are just completely lacking in objectivity about the fact that most of these folks know and respect and learn from each other.

except for TF those things suck. next.
 
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I will just add because the discussion of performance vs cost came up, Markin offers some of the best value out there. You can get one of his 52100’s for slightly more than a Yoshi skd. I don’t know why he doesn’t have the hype and isn’t a name you hear often in these types of discussions
 

ModRQC

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I think western makers tend to charge more because they can. Most of these guys won their market by sheer performance/excellence. Doesn't mean you'll love them.

Some of the coveted Japanese makers... don't think "performance" or "overall excellence" describes well what you're paying for. Legendary HT you'll never have the means to test and see what good it's really nowadays. Rarities. Hand finishes. That's what you're mostly paying for. I'm sorry but while I can see that a made name at some point must have put out extraordinary units, I've also been proven they were extraordinary units at their original prices that since then inflated to levels some of the old timers find difficult to swallow. Looking at BST again, most sold legendary units are claimed BNIB, or might have been polished with the highet skills but never truly used in rare cases. Many a real "I want to try that quality" member have been saying they were mostly not impressed by Shigs or Katos for example. Perhaps you can blame them to be ignorant, but performance has only one law: it doesn't care who's is the eye of the beholder. And when you get praise of these high ends, you mostly get praises of their legendary makings.

And I guess paying north of 1K$ for a knife, you won't exactly be caught saying that while it's all it's supposed to be to some degree, where performance is concerned you had your wilder kicks with a S. Tanaka, Shiro Kamo or Wakui of this world.
 

Jason183

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I won’t think of high performance knife(Yoshikane for example) when I see “most sought after” knives, but it should be at least can perform so ppl not just buying it for displaying Art.

Most sought after knives IMO are the ones with Reputable brand/names liked Kato/Shige and some Western makers mentioned on this thread with many years of knife making experiences plus rarity(high demand low supply).

For example Masamoto or Konosuke is not the most sought after brand, but their specific Gyuto KS(in the past) or Kaiju(present) is considered most sought after because of the rarity.
 
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shinyunggyun

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I didn't realize that the most sought after knives were made by western custom makers. But what about the Japanese side? What are some more of the most sought after gyutos made by Japanese craftsmen?
 

M1k3

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In almost anything there is a diminishing return when pushing for top performance. You tend to pay a lot of money to increase performance by a marginal gain when you get to the top. An artisan knife worth $800 will not outperform a $40 fibrox by a factor of 20. That is not to say it isn’t worth it but you just have to accept that in order to experience the pinnacle of knife making you need to pay a master bladesmith what he is worth to get you there. I absolutely believe that some, not all, of the higher end knives outperform some of the tried and true favorites. Then there are knives where you pay a premium for the look, artistry or just hype but they can’t deliver the goods in the kitchen. Not going to point fingers but you know what I’m talking about.
I don't think it's so much a question of whether these knives will outperform a fibrox by a factor of 20, (c'mon, nobody's deciding between a house knife and a @Kippington) but will they outperform my Gengetsu by a factor of 4? Or even a noticeable amount?

I've truthfully never been curious enough to find out. I'd rate my gengetsu higher than my wakui migata, but I use them both equally. I bet the gengetsu costs almost twice as much as the wakui, and it's definitely better. I can't quantify "twice as good" but given the numbers involved it was worth it to me.
 

RockyBasel

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I think there are “in demand” and “cult”

there are too many to put on a list, but to force it to say 4-5

in demand Western:
Raquin
Xerses
Yanick
.9
Dalman

“Cult”
OMG, Billip, perhaps Oatley, etc

in demand japanese
Kato
Shig
Ashi Honyaki
Kaiju
Y Tanaka + exotic steel + mysterious sharpener - vintage carbon Damascus, etc
Toyama Honyaki

Cult
Jiro, plus there is another Japanese smith who does tamahagane artistry knives (forget his name)

I don’t know where to put TF and Wat as they are easily available - but are outstanding
 

HumbleHomeCook

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