Classy build. How might this compare to a modern tourer?
Interested in your thoughts on this topic since you've gone to so much effort.
Okay, here are a few reflections.
In the mid 1980s, when I bought the Eclipse Countryman, quality off-the-peg touring bicycles (including others such as Holdsworth and Claud Butler) all looked pretty similar with chrome-molybdenum steel frames, 72, 72 degrees geometry, drop handle bars, centre-pull brakes, and usually fitted with a double chainring like 32-50t and a 6 speed 13-28t freewheel (a lowest ratio of 31" or 2.5m development). I wanted a lower bottom gear like those available on custom tourers of the day and the dealer was happy to upgrade the chainset to the T.A. Pro 5 Vis 26-42t double, but this was seen as unusual (a lowest ratio of 25" or 2m development). The T.A. offers a lower q-factor than modern chainsets, which is noticeable, but it requires a flat sided derailleur to avoid it scraping against the inner surface of right-hand crank. Once I found the Campagnolo Victory LX derailleur in the early 1990s, I converted it to a triple chainset, 26-38-48t. The advantage of the friction shifting is that one can mix and match components and not be tied to a single manufacturer to maintain compatibility.
All the bearings are cup-and-cone type which makes for straightforward maintenance and an easy upgrade by ordering higher quality ball bearings from somewhere like Simply Bearings. The exception is the headset which uses roller bearings, though these can still be found as new-old-stock. There are no braze-ons for bottlecages or a low-rider front rack, which are now found on most modern tourers, though the Blackburn FL-1 clamp-on low-rider rack I have works fine. The downside to restoring an older bicycle is the availability of comparable wheels new (Though Velo Orange and Sun still offer 27" rims) and the narrower spacing of the rear drop-outs at 126mm on the Eclipse compared to 130mm or 135mm. @Thrustvector has an Eclipse Countryman that is a conversion to 130mm spacing, which a framebuilder can do at a reasonable price, and his uses 700c rims with the brake pads lowered accordingly.
Modern touring bikes come in a wider range of geometry, frame materials, rim or disk brakes, 26 inch or 700c wheels, flat hybrid-style or dropped handlebars. Cartridge bearings are common, though it is not clear to me how many are easily serviced without expensive workshop tools. Quill stems seem to only be available as a high-end option, which is a pity. I place a premium on user serviceability so I would not fit factory-only service hubs like the Rohloff. Bottom bracket dynamos have been replaced by low-friction dynamo hubs, but the best like Son are factory service only -- even the wiring on their lamps it seems. A bike like the Kona Sutra offers a modern alternative retaining the advantages of a steel frame, but they don't come cheap and still need conversion to a dynamo lighting system. On others such as the Condor Heritage, or Spa Cycles 725 Steel Tourer, I would have to replace the "brifters" with bar-end shifters to enable a back-up friction mode which further adds to the cost. The alternative is to build up an off-the-peg traditional frame like the Bob Jackson World Tour, which is probably the route I would go if buying new.
In my view, an older high-quality steel touring frame in good condition still provides a sensible alternative for building up a nice touring bike, especially if it was initially made for 700c wheels.