Thanks for the responses. I wrote a really long post but didn't explain what I wanted. I'm looking for a mower that feels and operates like a fine machine. Like a Bridgeport mill vs. a Harbor Freight drill press. The Honda HRX was mentioned, and I know that's a well-respected machine, but the throttle and speed levers are too plastic-y and wobbly.
I went to the dealer after I wrote the first post and saw the Toro 22197, and it was a lot like I'm hoping to find. They also had ExMarks which I liked the look and feel of also. I see more positive reviews on the Toros, though.
So if anyone knows of another "well-oiled precise machine" that'll cut my grass, please chime in, thanks.