Lovely cameras, though definitely not as fast in action as a Retina of the same vintage, since you have to cock the film manually. Also, the shutter release (mounted at the base of the lens) is not as easy to use as the body-mounted release of the Retinas. The Retina lenses focus as a unit while the Contessa lens is front-element focusing.
As a piece of fine phtographic machinery it's a work of art, truly. And regarding the meter, there's a good chance it actually isn't dead, and if you search Mike Elek's website (he's a regular here) he will tell you how to get at it and see if indeed it can be rejuvenated.