The home side made their intentions clear from the start when Almen Abdi tested Julian Speroni from distance. Crystal Palace failed to get any sort of grip on the game in the early stages and were punished after only six minutes.
Jazz Richards' poor clearance fell to Abdi on the corner of the area and after gliding past Kagisho Dikgacoi the Swiss international unleashed and beautiful strike past Speroni and into the bottom corner.
Watford continued to dominate and it wasn't long before they added a second just before the 15-minute mark.
Marco Cassetti found space in the box and when he hit his volley into the ground it appeared to be going wide but Nathaniel Chalobah reacted quicker than the Crystal Palace defenders and nodded in his third goal of the season.
Palace manager Ian Holloway made a change at half-time with Jonathan Williams replacing Alex Marrow and then early into the second period veteran Kevin Phillips replaced Yala Bolasie.
Crystal Palace's pressure paid off on 65 minutes when Peter Ramage forced the ball in after Manuel Almunia and a combination of three or four Watford defenders failed to clear a corner.
It was the lifeline Palace's play deserved.
And, it wasn't long either before Palace had their equaliser. Wilfried Zaha started to find more time and space and when he freed Richards down the right Phillips was on hand to side foot his cross past Almunia.
As the game entered the final stages it looked like there was only going to be one winner. Zaha's trickery created two chances for Williams but both chances went wide of Almunia's goal.
In the end both sides had to settle for a point, with Watford remaining in third place level on points with second-placed Leicester and Crystal Palace still in fifth, five points ahead of Middlesbrough.