davela, no doubt you speak from experience but I had the opposite one.
Several years ago, I lost my Olympus OM1 camera. I spent more than 6 months looking for another one but all I saw were cameras with various problems (mainly due to meter but not only).
Finally, I gave us and bought a Praktica camera for a song. Today, the camera still works fine, no trouble of any kind (meter, film transportation, shutter, you name it, everything works as expected).
Last year, I bought a Nikkormat FTN. Everyone praises its reliability. Conclusion, the shutter broke after 2 films.
Back to the soviet cameras: all cameras described as in working condition when I bought them were able to take pictures. Some were a little rough but they were flawless (Zenit 3M, Kiev 2A, Mir rangefinder, FED 3, Zorki 1). The only non-working cameras (not a surprise, I knew it) were pre-war FED 1 which needed an internal cleaning, a gentle lube, new shutter curtains and/or split mirror. But I am sure it is the case for any Leica from the same era.
I have a Zorki 1, and two Zorki 4. Have had no problems at all with these cameras! Specially like the handsome Zorki 1 (bought them via ebay from Russia, haven't made any thing like CLA to them, just put in rolls of film and started shooting!). I would say: build quality quite rubust!
Posted som pictures in the "Bolshi Blads" group here on APUG!
Yes many OM-1's need service. The OM system is not as robust over time as many of its competitors such as Nikon. The OM lenses acquire haze very easily too. The meters on most vintage SLR's need servicing, at least a re-calibration to use non mercury batteries in most cases. I've never had a Nikkormat that failed mechanically at least, but I'm sure they exist.
Originally Posted by Dali