I think that's as astute assessment.
I currently use 20 year old B&W speakers and an have been quite pleased with them. These were all bought second hand about 8 years ago, and are from the latter end of the "performance valued highest, appearance more of an afterthought" era, just prior to the Nautilus redesign which marked and increased emphasis on appearance. To me that's a sweet spot value-wise and I use them for both 2-channel and multicahnnel music playback. With numerous speakers placed around the room, good cost/performance is important.
I have two pair of 802 Matrix S3 from the mid-90's, and use three of those across the front. The 'extra one from the second pair' is used as the center back speaker for occasional 6-channel playback. I'd love to find a third pair locally at a good price in order to have 6 matching speakers all the way around, especially for really dialing in the system and room for mastering my surround recordings correctly, but for now the surround L and R channels are mult'ed on each side to a pair of Klipsh bookshelves to the sides and a pair of B&W surround speakers a bit further back, and that does the job sufficiently.
I should stock up on a few extra 802MS3 drivers before they become scarce.