I agree with those that mention polishing as highly important.
Another is finish before it ever touches a polisher.
I have done high polish knife blades. If there is a small scratch it doesn't polish out as much as polishing gives you a polished scratch. Polishing is really just high grit sanding. If your using 4000 grid polish it will take forever to remove a 400 grit scratch. Plus, it is very difficult to get a smooth even polish without slightly messing up the contour and making surface wavy. Power buffing also can kind of smear metal. The guys that do blades with differential HT and clay to develop a Hamon will not use a power buffer because it will blend the steel in the hamon area and it will never be as good as hand sanded to very high grit and hand buffed.
The guys who did the sanding and ran the buffers for S&W were highly skilled craftsmen on the same level or possibly a higher level than the guys who hand fit them.