The whole purpose of the unread counter, for many, is to see how many cards are 'waiting', without having them look unsightly and cover part of the watchface. For example the new Tag Heuer Connected which I also own, for its own watchfaces, by default hides all cards, but does display a counter, just like Watchmaker.
What Watchmaker is doing wrong is it only offers 2 options:
1. If you hide "Card Previews" in the Android Wear app, then the counter also gets hidden
2. If you don't hide "Card Previews", then both the cards and the counter display
What other watches like Tag do right is offer the correct combination of this instead:
3. If you hide "Card Previews" in the official Wear app, then the counter DOES display, and only the counter (until you pull up with your finger).
This looks beautiful. A clean watchface with a simple number in a white circle.
* Please make the counter work the way it should and display even if card previews are hidden in the official Wear app. Or, make an option in your app to hide cards but display the counter INSTEAD of the cards (until you pull up). *