Thanks for the replies so far, all. Just to be clear, I know about the pre-F SLR history, but the fact of the matter is, no camera before the F could match it in terms of features, and it really was the first successful SLR. Even the title of first "SLR system camera" has to go to Exakta Varex, who in 1950 already had a removable viewfinder prism, a full range of macro gear, etc. Still, they were slow and complex to operate by comparison, and did not fit the "mould" of modern, quick cameras.
Time will tell if I ultimately prefer the F system to the OM system (as a user, not a gear fondler) but I wanted to share my initial results and impressions with you guys and girls. The F is indeed a special camera - it has that something a little extra.