I think Wolf Tooth coulda tried a little harder to name their new headset line. Performance. The old, higher end one is the Premium. Couldn’t they have at least named it something that doesn’t start with P? The Good Nuff headset, for instance, or the Solid Middle Class headset. Something easier to determine the difference between the two.
The Wolf Tooth Performance headset is just the Premium headset with less expensive bearings. Black Oxide vs Stainless. Black Oxide is fine if the following is true: you don’t ride on the road a bunch in a salty area, you don’t hose your bike down with a pressure washer (which you shouldn’t do regardless), and if you don’t mind popping the headset bearings out every few years to get the surface rust off.
Worst case, the bearings rust, and you replace them with stainless ones down the road for 30 bucks. Not a big deal. Really, the rust isn’t going to form overnight. You should always lightly coat sealed bearings in a bit of crystal grease, just to keep knocking and creaking at bay, but that also serves to keep the bearings from oxidizing.