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One of the most difficult situations with the watch collecting and repair hobby is when you discover you have a broken part.  When this occurs, I usually get a sinking feeling in my gut that the watch is worthless.  There is a chance that your watch can still be saved.

Sometimes the replacement of a broken part can be difficult and require great skill to get it right.  You may want to call on a watchmaker when it comes to balance staffs, or if one of the gears is broken.  These jobs are tricky.  If you don't have a watchmaker see WATCH REPAIR SHOPS for info on finding one.  

For the beginner, some easy parts to replace on your own are: crystals, hands, mainsprings, detents, clicks, click springs, cannon pinion, winding gears, crowns, stems etc.  

Even when it comes to broken balance staffs, I would try to find a "donor" movement by searching on ebay.   You just need to locate the CALIBER on the watch movement...

 Here's how:

Here's an example:  You have a watch with a broken mainspring.  The following words appear in various places on the movement:

ELGIN  670  U.S.A. =  Manufacturer and Caliber/Model
21 Jewels = # of jewels
ADJ'D  =  Adjusted
R 382566 = Serial Number

For example if you perform title and description search for "ELGIN 670", you will find some movements for sale that you can salvage parts from.