Ahhh, back when Eddie Bauer was a real outdoor store. I loved it back in the day. I got my first Gore Tex shell from Eddie Bauer. I didn't know that they had fly rods, maybe they were available in select stores?
Ard, those A&F branded Hardys go for a pretty penny on the auction site. I've seen Featherweights or Flyweights go for $500+. They're not for me either, I don't much care about the A&F Branding, but am not fond of silent check.
If you are running into warranty issues, you will likely have to pay for repair or pay to be upgraded if they cannot repair/replace a section or two. I bought a 489-5 SLT that they told me they cannot make a new section for. This was before the Circa though so I'm not sure if that changes anything or not.
Here's Sages Warranty policy:
Warranty - About Sage | Sage Fly Fishing
The Sage Lifetime Warranty
Every new Sage rod, blank and Sage series reel is covered by our lifetime, original owner warranty.
This warranty is limited to repair and replacement of the rod, blank or reel and does not cover direct, indirect, consequential, incidental or any other type of damage resulting from the use of the product. This warranty does not cover fire, theft, loss, intentional breakage, modification or customization of the finished rod, or damage during the assembly of a blank into a finished rod. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights that vary from state to state.
Sage reserves the right to determine whether to repair or replace any Sage Product covered by this warranty and the right to replace any discontinued models with comparable models when necessary. Colors and components may vary between original and replacement parts.
The lifetime, original owner warranty applies to rods with a serial # beginning with the letter "M" and higher, including all double letters (i.e. AA, AB, AC). Rods with serial #'s beginning with the single letters "A - L" (generally manufactured prior to 1995); have an original owner lifetime guarantee against any defect in materials or workmanship. Any of these series of rods that fail due to misuse, negligence or normal wear-and-tear will be repaired or replaced at a reasonable cost. The serial # may be found on the rod directly opposite the Sage logo.