The shutter release is the same as the Ikonta 35/Contina, right? You cock the shutter independently, and fire with that kind of bulky lever on the upper right? I don't mind that; it's consistent with the MF folders I'm used to.
If I stumble on a working meter, so much the better, but it's easy enough to live without it. That said, Zeiss does seem to have a better track record than others about meter survival. Does the Contessa's meter have a cover like the Contax RFs, or is that just the bright/dim mask?