Mark Hughes endured a nightmare 100th game in charge of Stoke seeing his side fall victims to a patient and counter attacking Watford, who made it three unbeaten on the road.
Troy Deeney scored his first Premier League goal, two minutes before the interval, then Almen Abdi doubled the Hornets lead after a Marc Wilson mistake.
Hughes was able to name an unchanged eleven from their 1-0 win at Swansea on Monday night while Quique Flores made one change bringing Miguel Britos in for Sebastian Prodl.
Watford lined up flooding their midfield with Scotland international Ikechi Anya playing on the right wing to help full-back Allan Nyom nullify the threat of Marko Arnautovic and it worked with success.
Geoff Cameron limped off after eight minutes after picking up what seemed to be a thigh injury whilst closing for the ball. Wilson replaced the American international.
It was all Stoke probing with possession but failing to hit the target or create any meaningful chances and then the game came to life.
Odion Ighalo’s header struck the bar then Deeney’s rebound attempt also came back of the bar with the host’s fortunate not to go behind. But they did a few moments later.
A quick throw-in down their left saw Ighalo flick the ball into Deeney’s path. Both Wilson and Wollscheid slipped with the Watford forward cutting inside before he unleashed a well-placed curling effort past Jack Butland, who had previously kept two consecutive Premier League clean sheets.
Hughes showed his hand on the hour mark bringing on his final two substitutes in the shape of Jon Walters and Peter Crouch yet they were unable to make an impact as Watford doubled their lead soon after.
The Potters continued to try to play out from the back but Wilson got caught on the ball by Ighalo, who found Abdi on the edge of the box before unleashing a venomous shot giving Watford a deserved away success.
Talking to BBC Radio Stoke, goalkeeper Jack Butland said: “We are very very disappointed. We didn’t do our manager, ourselves or the fans justice, it’s not a happy dressing room.
“We had plenty of possession but failed to do anything with it. We didn’t clear our lines properly and they hit the bar twice then a few minutes later they scored.
“It’s a slip up and the performance was not acceptable by our standards. We’ve got to put it behind us and learn from it ahead of Tuesday.
Mark Hughes said: “We didn’t perform anything like we know we can do. In recent weeks we’ve been excellent. Sometimes we have to hold our hands up and accept the opposition were better than us and they had a threat up front, who messed our centre backs about.
“It was frustrating because we’re better than we showed today but it’s a good thing we’ve got a game on Tuesday to put things right.
“Credit to them they had a good threat up top, which we didn’t deal with. We’re an honest group and we were second best today.”
On Cameron’s injury he added: “He’s pulled his thigh muscle; it’s a shame for him as he’s been one of our key performers throughout the season and pre-season.”
Stoke City: Butland, Johnson, Wollscheid, Cameron (Wilson 8’), Pieters, Whelan, Adam, Bojan, Arnautovic, Shaqiri (Walters 60’), Joselu (60’).
Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Britos, Cathcart, Ake, Watson, Capoue, Anya (Paredes 66’), Deeney, Abdi (Behrami 78’), Ighalo (89’).
Referee: Martin Atkinson