Pep Guardiola's table-topping side were thoroughly dominant throughout and a sublime left-footed strike from De Bruyne in the 67nd minute was enough for a huge three points.
And while City had dominated possession, Chelsea's three-man defence largely stood firm in the first-half save for a single chance from a corner late just before the interval.
Pep Guardiola's team sit atop the league, a goal better off than Manchester United, who also have 19 points, and have now seen off Chelsea in one of the most demanding fixtures of the season, even without the recently injured Sergio Aguero.
But it was De Bruyne who scored City's lone goal against Chelsea.
City have a 100 per cent record of six wins out of six on the road this season, including the Champions League and Carabao Cup, but this victory at Stamford Bridge shows that Guardiola's faith in his team to win anywhere is not misplaced.
Goals from Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi gave the Blues the win and the distinction of being the first English side to beat Atletico on their own turf.
It was Chelsea's second home defeat this season after their 3-2 opening day loss to Burnley.
Both teams are heading into the clash on the back of impressive Champions League outings earlier this week.
Kevin De Bruyne felt he was never given a fair chance during an 18-month spell at Chelsea where he played nine games before asking to be sold for the sake of his career.
Moratasaid the decision to swap La Liga for the Premier League meant he was taking on a "difficult challenge" but was happy Chelsea were fighting for the league title. "It's easy for me playing with him".
City know a thing or two about scoring goals themselves, having no fewer than 16 on their last three matches against Liverpool (5-0), Watford (0-6) and Crystal Palace (5-0).
City dominated the bulk of the match, and De Bruyne finally gave the visitors a deserved lead after 67 minutes, firing a handsome shot into the top corner.
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