I collect them. I've got a VX, Varex IIA, (Varex IIB got used as spare parts after I dropped the Varex IIA) and a VX1000. I've also got a RTL1000 (Really NOT an exakta), an Exa classic and a Exa 250.
Lens wise, amoung others, I've got several tessars, a biotar (My favorite) and a pancolar f2 (Needs relubing) - The Pancolar F1.8 was useless - apperture blades didn't stop down correctly . My favorite is the Flektogon 20/4 though, cracking lens
The quality was definately better in the earlier cameras, which were build with a more german ethic. The later ones (Such as the VX1000) had plastic where there was chrome before and generally felt cheaper.
My VX and Varex IIA have both been overhauled, so I'm not sure how that bares on the reliability, as pretty much any cloth shuttered camera is going to want some work after 50 years.
They're good to use, I love the waist level finders on them, theres a good selection of lenses, they look *REALLY* pretty and feel very nice to use.