I've had this machine for 14 years (since '91) and replaced only one part - the main brew group gasket, over that time. It's definately on its last legs at this point, and I'm considering a super-automatic as a replacement, so my SO can make better use of the machine without having to wake me up every morning. In any case, I can say I'm really happy with the durability of my particular Novo. Be aware there have been many models with the same name over the years.
It warms up in 90 seconds, but don't be fooled - at this point only the top of the thermoblock is hot! You need to pull a long blank shot to get the rest of the block and the porta-filter hot, then let the thermostat cycle on/off.
Construction quality is pretty good - it's a plastic skin over a sheet steel frame. It clearly was not made to be serviced - I tried and failed to get at the innards of the switches when the main switch started getting a bit funky. (it never got any worse, so it remains just slightly funky) The portafilter is cast aluminum, I believe, and the brewing group is a substantial casing of aluminum or some other white metal (zinc alloy?)
With the right grind of coffee the espresso is quite good, but I tried a variety of blade and department-store burr grinders, and had real problems finding one that would grind fine enough consistantly. Five years ago I ended up with a Rancillio Rocky, the king of grinders. So I have a $300, 20lb grinder and a $200, 8 lb machine.
Let me qualify the quality of the espresso by saying it's better than 90% of the commercial espresso I can get in New Mexico, and better than 40% of what I got in the Portland/Seattle area. It's not the best, and can tend to a bit burnt. The steaming is slow, but I rarely use it - I drink either espresso, or just heat milk in a cup in the microwave.
With the right technique it's nearly as good as the gaggia baby I used regularly for 6 months before buying my own machine, and quite a bit simpler to operate.
Bought at the Starbucks in downtown Bellevue, Washinton (across the lake from Seattle). The guy there was quite knowledgeable, but I was in the middle of Coffeetown USA...