I Asked 4 Friends How They Live a Slow Life in a Fast City

I set out to write this article solely by myself, as I usually do. To celebrate the new Chanel J12 watch —a timepiece that has, since its launch in 2000, stood the test of, well, time—I wanted to write about stopping time, or at least slowing it down. The new J12 watch, redesigned by Arnaud Chastaingt, director of Chanel’s watchmaking design studio, is “all about the seconds” where nothing changes and yet everything changes—much like the J12 that remains the icon it has always been, with new and improved components and typography like the addition of the Chanel typeface to the words AUTOMATIC and SWISS MADE, and a reimagining of the numbers and indicators as well. “How do I slow down in a fast-paced city like New York?,” I asked myself. As I thought about my answer. I realized maybe I don’t slow down as much as I should, and it occurred to me that perhaps I should ask a few friends for some advice. From New York and Santiago, to Barcelona and Paris, their answers range from the pragmatic to the metaphysical. Scroll down to discover them, and The New J12.

Monica Sordo. Designer, Monica Sordo Jewelry—New York

Living in Brooklyn has being key for me. I get the rush and excitement of having a business in New York City by having my studio in SoHo, but as soon as I cross the bridge or get off the train in Brooklyn, my revolutions automatically go back to a “safe place.” I really love the balance this gives me.

Pola Thomson, Designer & Founder, Proyecto Metanoia—Santiago de Chile

Time is unbelievable as it’s the only non-renewable resource, and as it goes by through life, there’s no doubt we become more careful with what and who we spend it on and share it with. For me, time stops when I am immersed in an activity that makes me happy, like being surrounded by people I love, either in the present tense or at a distance. Designing, practicing yoga, going to see a movie at the theater or an art exhibition, visiting a museum or gallery. Being with people I love, sharing little pieces of my life with them, creates memories that leave a strong mark—making them endure through time with an expansive effect. Every single thing done with significance and with the soul behaves this way, tricking time and surrendering it powerless, as these memories are drawn so clearly on our horizon that the passage of time could never fade them away. The same thing happens to me with high end objects like a piece of jewelry, a watch, art or design. Its definition is so clear in its own characteristics and qualities, that it becomes free from the constraints of time. Any thing made like this and anything done in this manner ceases to be vague and thus becomes indelible. So I try to enjoy everything I do as much as I can and always remain present.


Natalia Swarz. Founder, Hôtel Weekend—Barcelona

“It’s so easy to get sucked into the mentality of rushing around in a big city, living day to day without taking a moment for yourself. To slow down, I like to wake up earlier and have a quiet morning: have breakfast with my husband, walk to work instead of taking a car or metro while listening to my favourite podcast. It is also key to wake up to a nice alarm (I recently changed mine to a beautiful song) and have coffee or tea before checking your email or Instagram; you will see the difference immediately. At least one hour before going to bed, all phones/screens are off!”

Sylvain Deleuze. Founder, Les Belles Heures—Paris

“Slowing it down in Paris is really a matter of attitude. I mean, the city has so much to offer that you can live it the way you want. Keeping a fresh eye on all the beauty, history and culture surrounding you is key cause it really allows to disconnect and get a broader perspective on that fast-and-immediate life we live in. A walk in the Jardin du Luxembourg, an hour off to a museum (I must confess Le Louvre still has my preference), Saturday afternoon hunt to the ‘Puces de St Ouen’ or Sunday morning ritual to your local market usually do the trick. Spending quality time with friends cooking, eating and drinking good is also a pillar of that so-called Parisian slow life. Getting back to basics really, to what’s truly meaningful, is the way to it.”