Editor's note: Chanel has been making watches for a little while now, but in recent years they've been rocketing up the cool, and the credibility stakes. But this spirit of change and commitment doesn't emerge from a vacuum, as Sandra discovers …* It's a paradox that a luxury house as conspicuously feminine as Chanel should always have had a gender-bending streak. So here comes a quick bit of fashion history and before you watch geeks roll your eyes and change the channel, let me say that this will help explain everything about Chanel's watches. Including why they are not to be dismissed as mere "fashion watches". I'll be brief. By the simple fact of launching herself into business (as a milliner) in 1910, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel flew in the face of expected gender roles. As she added clothes to her repertoire, she appropriated masculine elements: using jersey fabrics (previously reserved strictly for men's underwear); putting chic women into trousers, and into the striped jumpers of Breton sailors; turning masculine tweeds into feminine jackets; and making suntans fashionable (previously, only outdoor labourers got tanned). The perfumes, too, always had an air of not-quite-conventional femininity; since the beginning (No.5 was launched…

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