The solution to owning those good knives without waiting for years or a generous gift is a restaurant supply store. Most likely they won't carry a known brand, or sets with excess pieces. What they will have, without fail, is solid selection of individual cold-forged, full tang knives for far less than the usual retail big box or boutique chains. Why? Because commercial kitchen staff need quality, durable tools to use in the grueling environment of a restaurant. You can buy your perfect chef's knife this month...one knife or a couple at a time as budget allows.
Plus most restaurant supply stores are locally owned, family businesses. They'll be staffed by knowledgeable, friendly adults, not sullen retail drones. Knives will be easily available to handle, feel the balance, the handle shape, how it weighs in hand. I fondled many a knife before I decided long ago exactly which knives I planned to buy once and then use for a lifetime.
As someone with small hands, slight wrists, and not much heft to bear down behind the blade, Henckels and many of the Victorinox work beautifully for me. An 8" chef knife the one I automatically grab. Burly friends with large hands and no lack of forearm or shoulder to quarter turkeys or tame monsterous squashes enjoy using Wustoff and certain Victorinox blades. A 10" chef knife is their default knife.
The discovery of our common ground, Victorinox, arrived thanks to Cresco restaurant supply here in Denver. http://www.crescodenver.com/ Professionals with knowledge providing service with quality tools...in retail. I tend to sing their praises often. If you live in the West, there are Cresco's in Reno, Fresno, Denver, Santa Maria, and Sacramento.