I guess maybe I got lucky but I bought mine 04-06-05 and all I ever do to it is clean it and put in a new battery each spring and another new battery each fall just before hunting season starts. I never try and run the battery as long as possible and figure it's a cheap investment a couple of times a year for as much as I use it.
It's never skipped a beat and has ranged millions of times. Well, maybe not millions of times but it seems like it.
I don't know if it's the earlier model or just the way I look through it but I've never had a problem with the reticle disappearing. Since reading this I can make it disappear but I have to really get it way out of alignment with my eye to make it fade away.
Hind sight is great but I sure wish I would have purchased two at the time I bought this one. The price has really gone up.