The Gunter Wilhelm Premier ProCut 8 inch Chef Knife is a superb blade with a wicked sharp 15 degree cutting edge that is also drop dead gorgeous.
The Premier ProCut series knives are made with highly regarded X50CrMoV15 high-carbon rustproof stainless steel by the largest manufacturer in Germany, Thyssen Krupp. These knives are forged with a multi-stage heat and ice hardening process that takes them to a Rockwell hardness of 58, which is the norm for German-style knives. Known in the USA as 440 Stainless Steel, X50CrMoV15 is made of 15% chromium, 0.7% molybdenum, 0.15% vanadium, and 0.50% carbon, with no nickel. According to the British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA is a standards organization), “the higher chromium plus small molybdenum addition gives a greater corrosion resistance than standard grades. Vanadium allows higher tempering temperatures to be used and gives greater toughness, and the moderately high carbon content of 0.50% creates a high hardness martensitic microstructure.”The Premier knives are drop forged. Forged knives like these are made from steel that has been heated and hammered and heated and hammered some more, so as to realign the metal's molecular structure and make it stronger and more resilient. A stamped knife, on the other hand, is literally stamped out of a roll of steel and does not go through the strengthening process. Finally, it is sharpened to an angle of15 degrees per side. This is much sharper than most German-style knives and shows the influence of the Japanese invasion. These knives have superior cutting ability and edge retention ratings, according to the CATARA 8442:5-2004 standard. This steel can’t quite match the blistering turpitude of many Japanese knives, which are usually made of steels with higher carbon content. But these knives are more than sharp enough, and they won’t require the maintenance and vigilance demanded by many Japanese blades. And they are more reasonably priced.
This blade has a full bolster. The bolster is a narrow wedge of steel that separates the handle from the blade. It protects your fingers from slipping on to the cutting edge. Many knives have minimal bolsters or none at all. The balance point should be at the bolster, but with most knives the blade is more heavy than the handle so you need to balance the blade with your own muscles. With GW knives, the whole thing is made from a single piece of steel, so they are full-tang (one piece of steel from the tip to the heel). A full tang gives the knife extra strength, which does make it feel a bit heavy at first blush, but it also helps the blade slice effortlessly, and the balance point negates any concerns when you start to actually work with them even though they are relatively heavy at 0.537 pounds.
The metal in the handle extends all the way from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle. That’s classic single tang. On Premier ProCut knives, the tang extends from the top to the bottom of the handle, and that’s “double tang.” On the Premier ProCut knives, the tang also extends from side to side. If you cut the handle crosswise in the middle it looks like a plus (+) sign. That’s “triple tang.” Since the Premier knives have much more steel in the handle, the blade balances perfectly at the bolster. This is an important advantage for cooks who use a knife all day or prep big meals. A balanced blade is much easier to work with and can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
As for handles, the 4.75 inch ergonomic handle is made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) for durability. The Premier ProCut line handles are a beautiful wood grain sandwiching the triple tang handle.
Günter Wilhem also offers professional sharpening services. All GW knives come with a generous warranty.
Günter Wilhelm knives are some of the highest quality and most affordable knives on the market today. They are among our favorites because they are wicked sharp, cut effortlessly, hold their edge, are properly balanced, feel great in your hand, last forever, and are drop dead gorgeous. The company has several lines and price ranges of knives, but our favorites are the affordable Lightning ProCut Series and the more expensive Premier ProCut Series. We are not alone in our admiration, GW knives were used by France’s Chef of the Century Joel Robuchon before he died in 2018. GW knives are also used by Chef Guy Mitchell of the White House Chef Tour; Chef John Moeller, chef to three presidents; Chef Maneet Chauhan from the Food Network; Mark Lambert from the National Barbecue and Grilling Association; and many more. My only complaint about GW is that they have several lines of knives in different price ranges and you really have to dig on their website to figure out what the differences in construction and price are between the Premiwer ProCut, Lightening ProCut, Thunder ProCut, Executive Chef II, Executive Chef, and White House Tour Chef Signature.
Here is a video of French chef Bernard Guillas explaining the variety of GW Premier ProCut knives in his knife roll. The Premier ProCut line is our favorite overall.