For the benefit of others who may be reading this thread, let me clarify a little bit of terminology. I.e., Most of us call "Zwilling," "Henckels."
You've mentioned three different chef's knives, in a particular line of three particular German manufacturers. You also mentioned the Dick 1905 series. With the exception of the handle design, it's exactly the same as the Premier Plus.
All four lines are top lines from top German manufacturers. They're functionally the same knives, with minor differences in surface hardening and cosmetics; and very slight differences in handle design. The knife lines you mentioned by Henckels, F. Dick, and Wusthof Classic all use the same stainless steel from the same manufacturer. All of their chef's knives are designed according to the same "German profile," which includes a deep and highly curved belly, and a streamlined bolster, and a full finger guard. Fit and finish, cosmetics, and handle design are all excellent. Typical with 8" chef's knives, balance is neutral.
All of these knives represent a good choice for home cooks. If you were to buy one, I've no doubt you'd be happy with it for many years. However, they are by no means among the best choices.
You also mentioned Shun (you called it Shou) and Global. These are certainly different from the Germans and also from one another.
Shun Classic is an interesting knife. It's what's called san mai
, which means the blade is a three-layer laminate with a harder steel core surrounded by a soft steel exterior. Shun uses a steel called VG-10 for the core, and a damascus-look pattern for the exterior. The advantages of san mai
construction don't really apply to VG-10; consequently it appears that Shun used it for cosmetic purposes only. Shun cosmetics are excellent as is their fit and finish. They can be purchased only with either a right or left-handed "D" handle. The knives are substantially lighter than the Germans, have an unusual top line, which means a lot of radius at the tip to get the edge up to the point; otherwise like most Japanese chef's knives, Shuns have the flatter edge typical of a French profile. Shun is a blend of traditional Japanese and European design, and doesn't use a bolster or finger guard. Balance in the 8" blade is a tiny bit blade-forward, but still neutral.
Global is another interesting knife. Their striking appearance is the accidental result of industrial and ergonomic considerations. Global makes their knives from a proprietary stainless called Cromova 18, which is better than what Germans use, but not quite as good as VG-10. Still, plenty good for your purposes. Again great fit and finish and cosmetics. The Global chef's knives are designed along the classic French profile with no unusual geometry at all, except for the way the handle flows into the blade. There is no bolster or finger guard. As with all Global knives, balance is exactly neutral. Globals are extremely light weight.
One thing I haven't talked about is "agility." With knives, that means how easy it is to place the knife -- especially the tip. It's also a function of weight. Compared to Global all of the others are clumsy.
The Shun could be good, but it's compromised by its long, straight topline which makes it comparatively difficult to place the point for common tasks like dicing an onion. It's also falls victim to its cosmetics in terms of wear resistance. That beautiful suminigashi
pattern (Damascus look) scratches very easily and fades with wear.
Normal, ordinary, innocent people hear a lot about how "hard" the knife steel is as a selling point. Actually, Rockwell hardness isn't really that informative except as a metaphor for "toughness," a property it tracks pretty closely. The four important qualites are strength, toughness, edge taking and edge holding. Actually, for knife users (as opposed to makers), you might as well reduce it to edge taking and holding. In these respects the Shun is slightly better than the Global. And both Japanese knives are far better than any of the Germans.
So far, that would seem to leave the Global in the lead. Unfortunately, everyone I know who has used a Global as their primary chef's knife has suffered hand pain within a few months to a year. Personally, I like the Global chef's knives a lot for their agility and find them extremely comfortable; but have never used one as my primary knife.
I can't really recommend any of the knives you listed. If you really want a German knife, I suggest buying a Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu. The LCB series is a slight upgrade from the Classic in terms of blade steel, blade profile, but with the same handle. The series was discontinued in favor of the Ikon, but some of the knives are still floating around at close out prices.
If you'd prefer a Japanese knife the best stainless knives within what seems to be your price range are probably the Togiharu Inox (available at Korin - Fine Japanese Tableware and Chef Knives
) and the MAC Professional. Both lines are superior in every respect but cosmetics to Shun; and in every respect but agility to Global; and in every respect except fit and finish to the Germans (although the MAC is their equal).
Most cooks find the MAC exceptionally comfortable and natural in their hand -- which is no accident. MAC spends a lot of time, money and effort on ergonomics. Togiharu is simply a lot of knife for the money. Both of these knives get much sharper than the Germans, and will hold their edges much better.
At the next respective price levels down, MAC Superior is an extremely good knife, if a little homely and a tiny bit flexible. Togiharu Moly is ridiculously good considering the money. Both of these are excellent choices for a cooking school or commis'
You'll probably get recommendations for Tojiro DP. They have good blades, but a lot of people don't care for their handle designs. Women especially find them too "square" to be comfortable. Also, they have very bad quality control and, as a result, fit and finish can be bad. Even though they're a good price for the blade I recommend against. It's an excellent choice for someone who wants to experiment with Japanese knives. But it's really not a very good knife -- especially for a woman.
I should mention that as nicely as the Japanese knives sharpen and hold their edge, they're not magic. They get dull eventually and need occasional sharpening. It's a good idea to start with that in mind and make sure you have an adequate strategy for sharpening and maintenance at the same time you buy your new knife. Remember, all dull knives are equal.
In your shoes, I'd choose a MAC Pro.
Hope this helps,