170 years in family ownership

A watch tells a very special story

In the past special exhibition “Glashütte Watches – How it all began”, a pocket watch was shown that tells a special piece of family history. The current owner and lender of the mentioned watch, Mr. Berthold Kegel, paid a visit to the watch museum in June 2021, accompanied by his grandson. He reported on his extensive studies in connection with the watch. An engraving reveals that the watch was bequeathed to his great-great-grandfather, the schoolteacher Johann Gottfried Kegel, on 18 January 1852, on the occasion of his 25th anniversary at the school.

Picture: Lender Berthold Kegel with grandson Laurent Kegel visiting the watch museum (photographer: Karl-Ludwig Oberthür)

However, one detail of the engraved inscription caused perplexity and initially led on the wrong track. As place of employment, the community of Lugau is mentioned. Places with this name exist in the vicinity, but no family relationships were known there. Further research confirmed that in 1852 there was no schoolteacher named Kegel in the localities in question. Only in 2005, an inquiry to the German Watch Museum Glashütte shed some light into the darkness.

Engraved inscription: “Schullehrer Kegel, d. 18. Janv. 1852, z. 25jähr. Dienstjubiläum, d. Gem. Lugau”

After a detailed investigation, it was assumed that the place name could be a typing error and that instead of “Lugau” it should actually be “Luchau”. Today’s Glashütte district of Luchau is only around four kilometers away from the former production facilities and turned out to be the right tip. In Luchau it was indeed a Johann Gottfried Kegel who started his service as a schoolteacher on 18 January 1827. But it is still not resolved why “Luchau” turned into “Lugau”. The watchcase including engraving may have been manufactured elsewhere and the typing error was caused by an incorrect transmission.


Berthold Kege und sein Enkel Laurent Kegel zu Besuch im Uhrenmuseum