I'm a dive shop owner in what would be considered an 'off the beaten track' destination. In the 5 years since I opened the shop I have dived with a wide selection of divers.
It makes me smile when I see 'new' divers with brand new equipment, and I have noticed more and more that there seems to be an increasing move towards 'fashion' rather than function that influences new divers when making purchasing decisions.
I own a broad selection of first and second stages, but dive with a Scuba Pro Mk 2 / R395 combo. The reason, it's bullet proof, and I can service both with my eyes closed!
My rental fleet comprises of the same Mk2 / R395 which I replace every two years as I have a solid demand from local divers, especially fishers who know that it is a hard working combination, easy to service 'out at sea' if necessary.
I advise my students to look at the type of diving that they will undertaking prior to making a decision on what to buy. If you have no intention of diving in water below 72F why buy a regulator that is guaranteed not to fail whilst diving in icy conditions?
When it comes to maintenance a regulator that is used once a year requires more attention than one that is used on a daily basis. Really? Of course. The regulator that is not used will 'dry out' the rubber and plastics used in it's construction will degrade far more quickly than a regulator that is in regular use.
So if you are a once a year vacation diver I would suggest selecting a reg based on its ease of servicing as much as it's ease of breathing. Ask your self do I really need all the additional bells and whistles? And if you have a good relationship with your local dive shop seek their opinion as to the best reg for the job. (This is not necessarily the most expensive or best looking regulator). A good dive shop will want you to come back, and tell your friends about their service, so they will be more inclined to sell you what you need rather than sell you something that is not in keeping with your requirements.
When it comes to storage wash your gear, I use dish washing liquid, rinse and dry. If you have (food grade / dive specific) silicone spray or silicone grease apply sparingly to the hoses, this will help to prolong their life and it makes then look nice too
Once you are satisfied that your reg is clean and dry I suggest using a 'space bag', the ones that you can suck all the air out of. Your reg for all intense purposes is now vacuum packed. This will help to slow down the degradation of the rubber and other parts. It will also stop any pesky bugs or other silicone loving pests taking up residence in your second stage. (As an aside space bags are great for packing wetsuits when traveling....).
Store your gear in a cool, dry place, taking note that mice and cockroaches LOVE silicone, and mice in particular have been known to eat through plastic bags to get to silicone. Cockroaches will eat mask skirts and the diaphragms of second stages.... you have been warned!
There has been a trend to move to alternate air sources built into the BCD such as the Scuba Pro Air 2, and a number of suppliers now have alternates that attach to the low pressure inflator (although I'm personally not a big fan of these). If you have one of these devices don't forget to get them serviced at the same time as you service your reg.
In 5 years of professional diving I have not experienced a regulator failure, personally or through another diver. For that matter I have not met another diver who has had a regulator failure. I am sure that it happens, but on very rare occasions.
Therefore I would speculate that if you look after your gear, have it maintained in accordance to common sense and manufacturers guidelines you should enjoy many years of trouble free diving.