Luckily, it wasn't crowded, so the salesperson wasn't flustered by me asking her to bring out about a million shoes. We asked if we were the only ones who bitched and moaned about "classic Docs" ad infinitum, and she said no. I feel for their suffering, in that store! I suspect when I purchased the pair I was wearing, the salesperson was in elementary school.
You might be shocked to learn that I bought a pair made in Thailand, despite wanting ones just like my old ones, which were made in England (formerly standard for this brand). But in fact, the Thai shoes ended up fitting the best. Both the "Made in England" and the "Guaranteed for Life" (also made in Asia) 1461 oxfords were too large in the heel, larger than the old model; my heels came completely out of them with every step, no traction whatsoever even with the heavy socks I was wearing, which had padded heels. I tried a size down, but they were too short, so my toes banged on the toe box. If you like your shoes on the larger side, the "Guaranteed for Life" shoes run larger than the "Made in England." My (wide) orthotic fit easily in both of these models.
I had worn my old Docs for comparison. The soles of every pair I tried on felt less soft than my old shoes; am not sure if the composition of the soles has changed on all models, or if mine are just broken down (they are worn thin in spots). All new models were narrower across the ball of the foot, and curved in a bit more at the arch; they looked faintly dressier.
The main difference I noticed in the interior of the shoes is that the Asian-made model has a removable insole, which doesn't look as if it's meant to last that long (lightweight tech material). When I remove the insole, there's leather underneath, and I can fit my orthotic in. However with the insole, they're comfortable enough that I'm going to try them as they are for a while.
The workmanship appears fine. If I get five years heavy use out of them, I will be satisfied; I probably wore the old ones past the time I should have, anyway.
Wearing them today with hiking socks, to start the breaking-in.
ETA: I did ask about "official" repairs and the salesperson said those were only available for the "For Life" version - and if they couldn't repair those, they replaced. I suspect sole damage gets replaced. My next step is to ask around at the local cobblers to see what kind of taps or re-soling might work.