I received a Croma 301-Steel, 10" Chef's knife for Christmas last year. I use it daily cooking for my family. I have yet to sharpen it. It is still razor sharp. I do hone it on the steel before each use.
What I like about this japanese made, Porsche designed knife is its weight, ballance, and handle. The handle is solid metaland joined seemlesly to the blade. The blade is tapered from the spine to the edge, with no curvature. This is important when cutting through mellons, winter squash, and other things with a hard rined. Knives with Hollow-Ground edges push the food apart, like a wedge, rather than slicing them.
Before getting the lightweight Croma, I always though that the heavier the knife, the better, as the heft would aid in slicign and chopping operations. What I found is that it slows you down a little as it takes more energy on the upstroke and really doesn't aid inthe downstroke. Plus, if you are doing a lot of chopping, the heft can make the job a chore.
The unique Croma handle shape provids me with unparalelled control. The outside heal of my hand rests agains a wide, flat surface at the far-end of the handle which increases the moment of force. This makes chipping chores extremely efficient. The handle narrows in the vertical plane as it moves toward the blade. This gives great control and keeps the knive from turning to the side. It is a simple, yet elegant and intelligent design.
I've tried many knives, some expensive, some very cheap, an many in-between. For ease of use, durability, and versatility, I just don't think you can beat this knife brand. I truly love it. I would sooner trade my car than my knife (well maybe not, but it would be a close decision)
I purchased the Croma Santoku for my son who is a chef at a local Itallian Restaurant. He absolutely loves it. He previously owned professional knives recommended to him by the restaurant owner. Not only did they not hold up as well, but just weren't as efficient to use. And as was posted earlier, because they were a recognized name-brand, they grew legs. He tried the Croma and won't switch back to the other brand. He also won't leave his Croma out of sight. He usually won't take it to work. He did have to replace it though as one of his room-mates went kind of nuts (literally, ended up in a psych-ward) and broke the Croma while threatening to kill himself and others. The guy was just a cook at the restaurant that needed place to stay. My son said yeh. The rest is history. Happily, the guy lives there no longer. My son loved the knife so well, that he got a new one right away.
Now theses knives are expensive. But they are worth every penny, IMHO.
Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North