Jorginho gave his side the lead from the penalty spot after Timo Werner was clipped by Brighton keeper Matt Ryan in the 23rd minute. The hosts pegged Chelsea back early in the second half when Leandro Trossard's effort crept past Kepa Arrizabalaga in the away goal, before right-back Reece James restored the visitors' lead in glorious fashion just 100 seconds later when he arrowed home an effort from 30 yards out.
There should be plaudits aplenty for Chelsea's central defensive duo, who both put in solid shifts, while Werner's debut was an impressive one. The German No. 11 has a great turn of pace, and his movement gives the Chelsea attack a whole new dimension.
We can forgive every side for a touch of rustiness at this point in the season, but Frank Lampard will be hoping for more from summer signing Kai Havertz, who failed to make an impression on the south coast.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- It was a good time for Lampard to try a couple of his new signings, and although Werner and Havertz had contrasting fortunes on their Chelsea bows, both will take encouragement from starting their Blues careers with three points.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 5 -- Had one or two uncertain moments from set pieces, and should have done much more to keep out Trossard's effort from distance.
DF Kurt Zouma, 8 -- A dominant, no-nonsense evening from the combative centre-half, who was imperious in the air and capped off a fine performance with a somewhat fortuitous goal when his deflected volley dribbled home.
DF Andreas Christensen, 7 -- Made an excellent block to deny an on-target Steve Alzate effort and did the basics well in what was a very tidy performance.
DF Reece James, 7 -- Took some time to warm up after some poor crosses in the first half, but rifled home a stunning second-half goal with a fizzing effort from distance.
MF Jorginho, 7 -- An effective screen at the base of the Chelsea midfield and kept things ticking over in typical Jorginho fashion. Played in Werner on the way to Chelsea's 23rd-minute penalty before putting away the spot kick for with aplomb. Hobbled off late on and was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 5 -- It was a big chance for the 24-year-old to make his mark in the Chelsea midfield, but he never really got going and was unable to find his feet in the game. Replaced by Ross Barkley on the hour.
MF N'Golo Kante, 6 -- It was never going to be the sort of game where Kante typically thrives, but the Frenchman did what he needed to and protected his central defensive unit effectively.
MF Kai Havertz, 5 -- A quiet start to life in the Premier League for the former Bayer Leverkusen man, with the midfielder always on the periphery of the game. Not a terrible performance by any means, but Chelsea fans will be hoping for more in the coming weeks. Brought off for Callum Hudson-Odoi after 79 minutes.
FW Timo Werner, 7 -- Quick as a flash when he beat Brighton keeper Ryan to a through ball to win his side a penalty midway through the first half. The summer signing from RB Leipzig was lively as he prowled off the shoulder of the last man, and the 24-year-old can be happy with his night's work.
MF Ross Barkley, 6 -- Gave his side a touch more attacking impetus in his half-hour cameo.
MF Callum Hudson-Odoi, NR -- Unable to get into the game, but with the game won, he didn't need to.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, NR -- Saw the game out in the final few minutes.