They're well made, beautiful and vastly overpriced from a "bang for the buck" performance standpoint. I won't put a value on their beauty -- that's up to you.
If you like a light, agile French profiled knife ala Sabatier, a Kramer is probably a horrible choice. They are "deep," yes, but like most deep knives have a lot of belly; in other words, their profile is German and not French, and they have enough arc to force you to adjust your action (if you have one).
What advantages do you think you'll get from a "deep" knife?
Kramer by Zwilling knives, fwiw, are made in Seki City, Japan; but of course they are not at all typical of most Japanese made, western style knives (like gyutos). Those usually have a French profile.
Sabatiers are among the most comfortable and adaptable knives. That you find yours uncomfortable is reasonable (no accounting for taste) but unusual. That said, there's no reason you can't own and love two "go-to gyutos." I certainly do, and one of them is a Sabatier.
Without knowing the actual facts, I suspect that the knife's profile has either been ruined from over sharpening and/or the knife is dull and requires too much force to be comfortable.
In the first case, you certainly need to replace it with the recognition that knives -- especially those used professionally -- do not last forever.
If the second -- and most likely -- we need to address sharpening before moving on to purchasing anything nearly as expensive as Kramer by Zwilling.
Don't take my guess about sharpening as a criticism. Not only do lots of people not sharpen well, the vast majority (including many kitchen professionals) have never experienced a truly sharp knife.
It doesn't matter how good or expensive the knife, all knives dull eventually and any dull knife is a dull knife. If you want good sharpness, you'll probably want to sharpen after no more than twenty hours of professional use. If you think you can maintain a good edge on a steel and sharpening every few months or so -- you either don't know or don't care about real sharpness.
FWIW, most western handled, mid-length (8" - 10-1/2") chef's knives with bolsters balance about the same; i.e., in front of the bolster, right around the pinch point. Very few good knife technicians think of balance as being at all important. They accept that a longer knife will be more balance-forward than a shorter one and choose the right tool for the job, regardless of balance.
If you have excellent grip and knife skills, your best choice might be one of the new, western-handled lasers, like a Gesshin Ginga, Ashi or Konosuke. If not, you might want something stiffer and more robust. There are lots of wonderful choices -- and even narrowed down to "best choices for you" you'll have plenty to choose from.
But before moving on to particular recommendations, let's look at the more basic questions and at sharpening. In addition to the questions posed above:
- What's your current sharpening routine?
- What kind of steel do you use? How fine is it? How long? How often do you use it?
- How much money and/or time are you willing to invest in a top quality sharpening kit and learning to sharpen?
- How would you rate your knife skills?
- Do you slide your knife forward or back as part of your chopping action?
- Do you cut brunoise as a matter of course, or does it take thought and effort?
- Do you hold your knife with a firm or soft grip?
Edited by boar_d_laze - 12/31/11 at 12:25pm