Petalsandcoco was browsing the Lee Valley catalog when she, It's not dumb at all. A lot of people share it; moreover, there's good historical reasons to be a little bit leery of knives represented as "Sabatier."
First, the name "Sabatier" isn't actually a single brand -- at least not in the way we think of brands. It was first licensed in the early 19th Century to a knife maker in Thiers. Interestingly enough, the second licensee was also named Sabatier but wasn't a relation.
The license was given in such a way that all of the Sabatier families' members and local competitors could use or steal the name. Everyone and his brother in the Bellevue/Thiers area started using it -- and if you're interested in that sort of name there's a wonderful collection of Sabatier marques from the area.
By the latter part of the 19th C., appropriation of the Sabatier license had spread to other parts of France as well.
By the mid nineteenth century the Sabatier name was diffused among a number of French makers. Fast forward to the late-middle of the twentieth century, and some of those makers sold or licensed the name to "international" makers and a lot of poor quality "Sabatiers" started coming out of one part of Asia or another.
When buying a Sabatier it's important to know the identity of the individual maker. Three examples of still notable, French Sabatiers, well distributed in North America, are K-Sabatier, Thiers-Issard, and Mercier et Cie . I feel good about all three of these especially; also about the NOS "Nogent" knives; the recently uncovered stocks of "Canadian" and "Massifs;" and about a few others too. There are too many ins and outs to cover in a CT post.
When it comes to determining which manufacturer made a specific knife, the first thing to look for is engraving -- whether on the handle or the blade. Unfortunately, many Sabatiers made by the best makers during the 20th Century weren't engraved with the maker's name, but only silk-screened.
There's no way to know for sure who made them, as most popular Sabatiers followed the same few venerable French design schema (although the "Canadian" aka "Massif" knives are actually fairly distinctive -- their finger-guard bolsters are a byproduct of martinet forging).
In any case, with older knives, ultimately quality will out -- whether it's a good knife or a bad one is something you discover empirically. Use it long enough to require a couple of sharpenings and you know everything about its use, sharpening and maintenance qualities. If you have one and like it -- it's a keeper no matter who made it.
Several of the Sabatier marques, including the three I mentioned are still making high-quality "carbon" (non-stainless) knives that are very much the same appearance and alloy quality as knives in the fifites. These are the last of the mass-produced carbons and are very desirable knives. In my opinion, they compete well with similarly priced Japanese carbons -- giving up some ultimate sharpness and strength for toughness, comfort and impeccable French geometry.
During the period extending from the mid-sixties to the early eighties, German knives -- especially Henckles and Wusthof -- drove the Sabatiers out of the high end of the North American kitchen cutlery market almost completely. That was due in part to lousy French fit and finish and, as stainless increasingly dominated, because French stainless of the time was even worse than the German.
Since then, modern French stainless alloys are substantially the same as the Germans', and French F&F has improved to a similar level as well.
Most of the major Sabatiers even make a "German profile" line as one of their offerings. If you're going to buy a German knife, you're better off not getting a French clone. The Americans, Swiss and Germans do a better job of it. On the other hand, if you want a French profile, look to the French and the Japanese.
When buying a new "Sabatier," no matter which marque, don't under any circumstances buy anything that isn't made in France.