Having won just one of their seven previous Premier League games before heading to the south coast, Villa secured a 2-0 victory as Watkins wrapped up the points following a fine opener from Matty Cash.
Cash was booked for removing his shirt during his celebration to show a message of support for Poland team-mate Tomasz Kedziora and his family – the defender currently stranded in Ukraine, where he plays for Dynamo Kiev.
Villa continued to create the better of the chances and Watkins struck his first goal since mid-December in the 67th minute to secure the win.
“Obviously, I needed that,” the forward told Villa TV.
“Like the team, we haven’t been performing great but individually I expect a lot more from myself and I think other people do as well.
“It’s nice that I got a goal and hopefully it’s the first of many now and good things to come.
“It’s a tough place to come. When we played them earlier on in the season, they had the majority of the ball, it was a grind from the team but we won 2-0 at home.
“We knew it would be a difficult place to come and get three points after a sticky patch during the season. So all credit to the boys, we dug in and we got what we deserved.”
While the victory ends a barren run for Villa, the Seagulls are still struggling of late and have now lost their last three league games without scoring.
Only the current Premier League bottom three, as well as Leeds, have a worse home record than Graham Potter’s side at this stage of the season.
They face a rejuvenated Newcastle next, before games against Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City.
While Brighton remain in the top half and are 12 points clear of the relegation zone, Alexis Mac Allister knows improvements are required.
“We know that we have to act as a team,” said the Argentina international.
“We have to be honest with ourselves. We will work and we will try to win the next match.
“We have to keep working because these things cannot happen and if they do happen, we will suffer from it but we will work on it and we will move on.
“It was hard because they defended really well and really low. We tried to cross but it didn’t work. They defended really well and we have to accept that – we know that we can work on it and we will do it.”