Even the first time I was "an avid cyclist" in the '80s, I didn't use center-pull brakes. Sidepulls were much cooler at the time & I was riding "racing" bikes.
These centerpulls I've been using have great modulation and TONS of stopping power (with KoolStop International brake pads). Just the thing for a retro-bike.
I know that Dia-Compe and a few others are making brand new center-pull brakes now. I think they're a fine solution if your bike needs long reach brakes and you want a retro-look, but especially if you want a brake with good modulation & power and cantilevers aren't an option.