Home Watch Types Automatic Startup Don Kylne and Co. “The Chaplin”

Startup Don Kylne and Co. “The Chaplin”


I get a few watch emails a day and it’s a lot like “exploring posts” on Instagram: one watch after another screaming for attention. The one email that caught my eye recently was a startup that puts a Japanese mechanical movement in a polished, classic cushion case, protected with a sapphire crystal. 


My first impression of the newly named “Chaplin” from Don Kylne & Co. was that I was looking at a cushion cases from Longines, Marvin or even Panerai with a set of oversized Arabic numerals on an uncluttered dial.

The case is stainless steel (or gold plated) and is 40.5mm wide with the simply-straight 22mm wide lugs and a leather strap with butterfly clasp.

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The domed sapphire crystal protects the white dial (also in black and cream for the gold case) with the words, “Don Kylne,” in a classic script at 12 o’clock and a sub second hand at 5 o’clock. The numerals are a vintage style and subtly salute to the WWI-era trench watch.

The numerals made me do a double take initially since they are not all parallel with the 12, 3 and 9, but explode out from the middle of the dial like a roulette wheel, except for the 6. The 6 defies the others and sits there between the nearly upside down and tilted 7 and 5. Either way, this is a detail I’ve never seen. I can’t decide if I like it or it causes my mind to do tricks. I get it, though.

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The crown is a handsome additional detail with engraving on its end which adds just enough style to the case to fool you into thinking it’s priced higher than it is. The case back is clear in order to see the Miyota 8245 movement with a 40 hour power reserve and is engraved with the words, “Rêveurs Comme Nous” or “dreamers like us” around the window. The back is also individually numbered from 001-500 for the fast-moving 500. The case is water resistant to 50m.

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The early bird special they’re promoting is for the first 170 orders at $299. After that, the retail price will be $450 and you’ll have until the end of October to be one of the first 500. They want to start production in November so that you will be able to receive the watch in May.

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Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Don Kylne &Co.
  • Price: $450
  • Who we think it might be for: This is for the person who loves the vintage, classic look of the cushion case but doesn’t have the cash to drop on an established watch company.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I’m very curious, but would probably save my $450 bucks and hunt for a vintage 70s chronograph.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Please think about the numeral 6 and how it’s placed on the dial. Also, the sub second register seems a little small.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: The case is my favorite part of the watch and is beautiful.


  • Brand Model: Don Kylne & Co. The Chaplin
  • Movement (technology): Miyota 8245 mechanical movement
  • Size of case diameter (mm): 40.5mm
  • Height of case: 13.25mm
  • Weight: (not listed on web site)
  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case Back: (not listed on web site)
  • Crown: (not listed on web site)
  • Crystal/Glass material: Sapphire
  • Water resistance (m/ft/atm): 5atm=50m
  • Strap/Bracelet material: Genuine Leather
  • Illumination: NA

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Ken is the son of a photographer and his earliest memories are of his dad’s Wyler Incaflex glowing in his dad’s darkroom. The photography and watch made impressions on Ken, so he followed the family business for a while and earned degrees in photography and journalism. His love of watches include most mid-20th century chronographs, military-themed pieces and any watch with a history. When he’s not working in HR in Birmingham, Ala, Ken, his wife and three kids are camping in their vintage Airstream. Twitter: @nicholsken, Instagram: @nichols.ken

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