Last November I bought a 12s, 17-jewel 1907 Elgin pocket watch. The seller reported that it worked. I haven't been using it since I haven't had it cleaned yet, but it does wind up and keep (slow) time for at least 30 hours on a wind, and I discovered upon bringing it to a local watch shop for the cleaning that the balance was broken. I've attached a picture of the balance. I'm no expert, but I'm assuming that the two gaps at 1 and 7 o'clock are not supposed to be there.
As far as functionality is concerned, the watch works, but I have to give it a gentle jerk to get it to start running. Also, I'm somewhat concerned because the ticking seems somewhat uneven. All of the antique pocket watches I've heard seem to tick evenly, but this one swings slightly, i.e., it alternates between long and short ticks. The watch is consistently off by about 5 minutes a day, which could probably be fixed, but it's this balance that I'm concerned about.
So now to the questions I have for you. Would one expect this kind of service plus a cleaning to cost $236? This was the quote the watch shop gave me. The fact that a major part like the balance is broken seems to concerns me somewhat; how often do balances go bad like this? Would I be better off buying another watch and praying that it only needs a cleaning? I really just want to make sure that I'm considering all my options, since I'm new to pocketwatches and I'm having to make a major repair decision at the very beginning. Thanks!