My go-to launcher of choice has often been Nova, which has a nice stock Kit Kat look but with a decent amount of customisation and I have used it for quite a long time, and used it back when my LG Optimus 2X was my main phone. It's Tesla Unread plugin that shows a count of new messages missed calls etc. My favourite icon set is RoundOS which I use on any launcher that can use custom icons. The widget in the middle is for launching different modes in A Better Camera. The clock widget is part of the Chronus Home and Lock widget set.
Google Now Launcher
For a pure stock Android Kit Kat experience, Google's own Google Now Launcher is the best choice. It's simple and elegant and has the Google Now screen a swipe away on the left-most screen. The only downside of course is it is not for those who like to customise their Home screens, and of course that means no custom icon sets.
My current default launcher is Inspire Launcher, I like it because it's based on the stock KitKat Android Launcher, but it is very customisable, which means I can use my favourite icon set, RoundOS. By default Inspire uses a different search panel instead of Google Now, though you can enable the Google Now screen in settings. Sadly it does not works as smoothly as it should since once you swipe to left to Google Now it won't let you swipe back to the Home screen, so you have to tap Home to get back. Inspire also has a Counter plugin for showing a count of new messages or missed calls when they come in, a bit like Nova's Tesla Unread plugin. It's quite possible I might get bored and switch to one of the other launchers again but here's how my Home screen looks now:
Also on the last Nightly the stock camera app stopped working and I downgraded to the previous Nightly with no luck. It's possibly that it might work again if I completely wipe data but that's a bit of a pain when I have every just right. I even tried to flash the Google Camera but it still does not work and hasn't worked since I installed CM (and obviously wouldn't work on JB when it was stock either) I can take one photo then it will lock up and stop the camera working at all with any app until I reboot. It definitely seems to be a bug in this release for the S3, it would probably be fine if I downgraded to the Jelly Bean version of CM. I'm sure the Google Camera probably works fine on other ROMs for other devices. Looks like I will be using A Better Camera and Focal more often. A Better Camera still works very well and will be my default choice for now. I'll continue upgrading to each Nightly and see how it goes. Also on the plus side, since this last Nightly I have not had the Notification drop-down bug, so far at least.
Update 20th May: I have switched back to Nova since the icons are slightly smaller and it definitely feels more spacious on the Home screens. Also today A Better Camera Widgets have been updated and they now have more options, you can now have them more translucent or transparent, and they look more polished, as you can see from my screenshot.