I started off on a Thompson A and never really had any problems with it. When I saw the Universal 2 rotary I was thrilled and bought that - it was an excellent vise and I really appreciated the rotary function. Eventually the jaws developed an irritating wobble. (I sold the vise and almost immediately regretted it... just this week I found one on ebay so I look forward to "having it back").
After the Universal 2 I saw the HMH line at LL beans and really longed for one. I couldn't justify the price of the standard but I was willing to part with 79 bucks for the Spartan. I tied on the Spartan alot and it never, ever developed any problems. The only complaint I have is that it's not really proper for bass and saltwater - the pedestal is not heavy enough and the jaws struggle with the big stainless hooks. (It is an API era model and they did not offer magnum jaws). When the Nor-vise came out I was tying alot of trout flies commercially, especially streamers, and bought one right off and used it for making bodies. It was so fast it was frightening. Eventually it slowed down considerably (wouldn't spin as fast) and also the jaw tightening became a bothersome chore. In the end, I just didn't enjoy tying on it. I longed for a Regal but wanted the true rotary function... the Renzetti never appealed to me and I found it to be overpriced. Two years ago I bought a Griffin Mongoose and a Regal Inex. I love them both. 90 percent of my flies are tied on the Mongoose, and I use the Regal for spinning deer hair (c-clamp only). The only vise I long for now is a Herters 11R rotary vise. If anyone has one to sell please contact me! Cheers, Alec