Looking to emulate that old-world moonphase luxury watch look you remember seeing bankers and execs in days of yore wear? The Karl-Leimon Classic Pioneer Collection, currently funding on Kickstarter, could be your ticket. This small line of classically styled moonphase deployment buckled entry levelers paves an easy way to looking classically good from a distance, at a price that certainly won’t break the bank.


The Classic Pioneer collection is being funded on Kickstarter, and amongst the many many many watches on the platform, seems to be doing fairly ok. They’re 2/3 of the way to their goal with a modest 85 backers, and have a little under a month to go. I think Kickstarter is a great platform for testing out ideas, and I appreciate that it lets the product founders to set the funding level at a spot where they’d be successful if they made it only to the initial funding goal. That said, there’s a low barrier for entry to Kickstarter – so a lot of dubious items make it onto the platform as well. KL was able to ship a press sample, so it’s certainly not vaporwear, as many kickstarter projects can be.

Initial Impressions

The product packaging is, as you’d expect, classic – a large black cardboard box printed with the brand name, surrounding a padded leatherette presentation case. The watch is presented inside on a standard oval watch holder, and comes with a band change tool. The presentation is secure and classic – although given the price and size of the watch, this box is huge. Previously I reviewed the VERK watch, and one item I loved about that was the small, slim box the watch came in – just enough. This KL box seems a bit much to me.

The watch is smaller than I had imagined, but it keeps with the classic smaller size tradition. Watches nowadays are getting progressively bigger, and KL keeps it classic and small. A good throwback look, and a very wearable size for smaller wrists. Also a nice surprise was the staineless steel deployment buckle on the strap – a nice quality touch, complete with machining marks on the inside.

Fit and Finish

The watch case is basic, with brushed stainless steel sizes, and polished bezel. The finishes are adequate, although there are a few edges that could use a bit more smoothing and polishing. Additionally, above the modest and laser engraved crown, there’s a small pusher button for setting the month. This is a standard feature of the Miyota 6P00 Movement.. although on a “luxury” watch, I’m not sure there’s a place for this kinda chintzy looking button. Surely there’s a more elegant way to deal with setting the month.

The face is simple and seemingly elegantly styled, and for the price, it looks good and classic – simple indexes, a muted moonphase indicator, and thinly legible hands. However, upon a bit closer inspection, I noticed a few small printing and registration errors on the month and day printing. Inspecting the hands, although they have a chrome polish, they appear slightly warped at the edges – not perfectly flat or slightly rounded like I’d expect for a “luxury” watch. I do appreciate the moonphase indicator as a fun throwback and luxury homage – and instead of a flashy full color display, the moonphase and stars in a muted brown/grey color – nifty.

The black leather band is adaquate, and is printed with genuine leather and KL on the back. It interfaces well with the deployment buckle, and fits well. Once it warms up and breaks in a bit, it’s perfectly comfy – although the quality of the leather seems once again “aspirational”.

On the Wrist

Wearing this every day is a bit awkward – it’s “old world” styling doesn’t jive with every activity I do. However, with a suit, amongst the right company, this watch is perfectly fine – it fits in with a suit for a job interview, first job, and unless closely inspected, could certainly hold its own out at dinner with clients. I loved the security of wearing a leather strap with a deployment buckle – nice and secure, and nice to have that extra piece of slim stainless steel in the clasp for a little more heft. The modestly complicated dial makes the face easy to glance at – and although I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the watch for the date, I appreciate the complications for their heritage.

Unexpectedly, the most interesting feature to me was the moonphase dial. Why do I care about what the phase of the moon is? I don’t know – but it’s fun speculating on all the various old world uses. Perhaps if I was some sort of Caribbean rum smuggler I would like to know the most brightly illuminated nights for making my runs.

Final Thoughts

First luxury watch? Want to impress for a first job interview? Interested in testing new and old styles to find your style? Like supporting earnest small producers on kickstarter? Then this Karl-Leimon Classic Pioneer makes a fun piece to check out. But if you’re looking for true luxury to last a lifetime and hold its own under tipsy scrutiny at the dinner table, then move on. Looking for a really cool and classic moonphase? Maybe try out that Baume & Mercier Clifton 10055.


By Jeffrey Donenfeld

Wrist Watch Review Writer Jeffrey Donenfeld lives in Colorado and reviews products at his website. An accomplished adventure traveler, antarctic expedition director, and rescue scuba diver, Jeffrey has tested and reviewed watches in a multitude of challenging environments. Jeffrey loves exploring design, construction, materials, and utility aspects of horology, and gets a kick out of both classics as well as fresh new ideas. He typically tests extensively watches he writes about, and provides readers with a real-world, practical take on diverse timepieces. In addition to writing about time, Jeffrey also works as a venture capital investment manager at a growing startup accelerator in Boulder, Colorado. In his free time he travels (70+ countries and counting), snowboards, rock climbs, runs, sails, scuba dives, and occasionally relaxes.

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