I still have a wonderful boiled-wool Dachstein sweater. Warm enough to bivouac in, but it weighs a ton (dry) and takes up most of your pack if you ever take it off. I also have a beautiful pair of Chouinard corduroy knickers, made from heritage corduroy from one of the remaining dedicated mills in the U.K. The old stuff is nice, but many things have improved since the days we know are old and like to think of as good.
My post was in response to Phlan's remark about getting back to half ropes, which nowadays are 8.5mm and under. I've caught a factor-2 fall with a hip belay with a rope like Rick's 11mm fuzzy, but I don't think that's gonna work with today's half ropes.
More to the point, I think you have maybe a 50-50 chance of holding a big fall on a single 8.5mm or less strand with a modern reverso or BD XP. The reverso, if you read the fine print, is not even rated to hold falls on a single 8.5mm strand.
The Alpine Up is an assisted locking device, which I think are the wave of the future in belaying anyway. What makes it head and shoulders above any of the others is that it enables the complicated taking in and pumping out of rope needed for belaying the leader on doubles without imposing extremely awkward hand motions and the catching, grabbing, and subsequent short-roping of the leader that comes with that awkwardness.
The only real competition at the moment is the Mammut Smart Alpine, and it doesn't come close to the performance of the UP.